My diary - the life and aventures of juvenile banana spiders
Jun 6, 2004: Here is my little sister, Lumi, 4-5 mm long (1 mm between marks
on the scale). Frank just discovered her near
Natasha's home from 2002.
Compare the color of my legs (dark brown) with Laura's more mature legs
(click here or on My Pictures above)
Lumi and a scale - not the best of focus, but the best I can do without
destroying the web. Her thorax is about 3-4 mm long.
Jun 6, 2004: Something of my life: design of a 3d web, repairing my web
and positioned in my home
Jun 6, 2004: Videos of my web repairs and the vibration response
July 5, 2004: New insights into predator - prey interactions
Today, a big surprise was waiting for me. Brenda Rindge wrote a wonderful
article for the
and Courier about my spider affairs. Soon email started arriving
that included observations from many others in the Charleston area. Among
them was the following observation from Laura Szweda - in this case, the
behavior of female bunting as she attacked the web of a Nephila Clavipes.
From Laura's observations, it seems reasonable to assume that the bunting
was all too aware of the strength of the spider silk comprising the web.
Here are Laura's comments:
"I wanted to share a unique experience with you concerning the Nephila clavipes.
I am fortunate to live among abundant wildlife on Kiawah. I have gotten more
opportunity here than anywhere I've lived to observe the interactions of wild
creatures. This activity has been a lifelong passion. I recently watched a
female bobcat stalk squirrels at my birdfeeder, chasing one up a palmetto
tree. The clawmarks on the tree trunk are still intact! What a thrill!
I have been a fascinated observer of the magnificent Golden Orb spiders since
my move from "off." The gigantic web networks in the trees, in my windows,
the spiders' rituals have been amazing. My birdfeeders have attracted many
birds and more than our share of painted buntings who return each year.
This year, I believe I have identified three different pairs. Last year,
toward the end of the summer, I was watching a female bunting, flittering
between two trees. On closer observation, she seemed to be tangled in the web
of a huge Golden Orb spider. As I watched, I realized her movement was
deliberate. She wasn't tangled in the web, but was piercing it. She flew a
short distance from the web, attacked once more, then dove into the web and
snapped her beak over the female spider, only the spider's legs protruded from
either side of her mouth! She flew away, huge meal in tow. This same thing
happened to another spider who had taken up an entire window frame with her
web, my nose was practically pressed against the glass as I watched. No
mistake, these spiders are a food source for the buntings. I haven't observed
any other bird with the same activity. Fascinating."
July 8, 2004: All gone. Yesterday all our friends were absent from their
web. So today I checked again. All absent, including a large female in
our neighbor's garden.